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James McDonald returns from suspension to bring out the best in handy trio at Randwick

Guess who’s back: James McDonald will be back in the saddle at Randwick on Saturday. Photo: bradleyphotos老域名出售备案老域名Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing

The man who makes all the difference, James McDonald, returns to race riding after suspension at Randwick on Friday and punters would be wise to cast their eyes back a couple of runs for a trio of his mounts.

McDonald is a clear leader in the Sydney premiership and he has the knack of getting the best out of horses that struggle without him. Ocean Spray, Stravigo and Cauthen’s Power fall into that category at the opening meeting for 2016.

It is a sign of McDonald’s quality that he makes fewer mistakes and gets horses to travel sweetly for him and often race differently. He can get them to be a pair closer than other riders, which can make a big difference.

Ocean Spray had McDonald in the saddle on debut. That day she jumped and box-seated before being runner-up at Canterbury, but at her second start she missed the start slightly and found herself trapped three-wide without cover before dropping out.

The Fastnet Rock filly has drawn well again at Randwick and McDonald should be able to take up a similar role to her debut just off the speed and that should give her the chance to break her maiden at the odds of $4.20 with Ladbrokes.

McDonald helped Stravigo to win her maiden from subsequent Saturday winner Sir Bacchus at Canterbury on November 27 before shooting for the stars when well beaten in the Wyong Magic Millions for three- and four-year-olds where she dropped out after racing on the speed.

She drops back to her right grade at Randwick but the outside draw will make McDonald earn his riding fee. It looks like a race boasting a couple of quality up-and-comers, thus $7 is available with Ladbrokes about Stravigo.

The most glaring example of McDonald’s talent is Cauthen’s Power. Although he is a backmarker, McDonald was able to get him home at his first two runs this preparation coming with well-timed finishes to get the cash.

Cauthen’s Power’s next two runs have been disappointing in slowly run affairs where he has got back and hasn’t had the chance to use his powerful finish.

It is a key change having McDonald back in the saddle and in a race that doesn’t look to have much pace on paper, it would not be a surprise to see Cauthen’s Power settle closer.

Ladbrokes are taking no chances with the Chris Waller-trained four-year-old marking him the $3.90 favourite and there has been early money for him.

JMac’s back

Race 2

Ocean Spray $4.20

Race 4

Stravigo $7

Race 8

Cauthen’s Power $3.90

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